Chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has invited Bollywood to Jammu and Kashmir saying it should once again roll out cameras and renew its romance with the paradise on earth.
"People want to see the real beauty of Kashmir through your cameras. You become brand ambassadors of our tourism, which remains the backbone of our economy," the chief minister told film stars, producers and directors during an interaction over dinner hosted by him in Mumbai on Thursday. Deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh and finance minister Haseeb Drabu were also present.
The galaxy of stars included Rishi Kapoor, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Imtiaz Ali, Sudhir Mishra, Ramesh Sippy, Anupam Kher, Madhur Bhandarkar, Pooja Bhat, Boney Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, besides others.
Mufti Sayeed, who also holds charge of the tourism department, was on a two-day visit to Mumbai to hold deliberations with the tour operators and an interaction with the film industry. Tourists from Gujarat and Maharashtara constitute a major chunk of the tourists and also constitute the high-end tourists to the state.
"Bollywood can do the greatest tourism marketing and itself find the most ideal locations for shooting in the state," he said.
The chief minister said in the 1960's and 70's most of the shooting was done in Kashmir which could be revisited as every location in the state can be visualised through the camera.
The state's three regions - Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh - have a distinct topography and locales which still have not been exploited to the fullest.
Rishi Kapoor, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Irrfan Khan and Anupam Kher shared their past experiences and future plans of making films in Kashmir.
They assured Mufti of Bollywood's "full support" in reviving ties with J&K.
Meeting with Maharashtra CM
Meanwhile, on Friday Mufti Sayeed met Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis. A government spokesperson said Fadnavis congratulated Mufti on taking over as the CM, while the latter requested the former to establish a JK House at Vashi Township in Navi Mumbai.
Mufti, he said, told fadnavis that the JK House will help people from the Himlayan state, especially cancer patients who come to Mumbai for advanced treatment, as well as students and professionals.
Fadnavis assured Mufti Sayeed that he will prioritise the request so that land is allotted for the proposed construction. Later, Mufti Sayeed met noted industrialist Keshub Mahindra, chairman emeritus, Mahindra and Mahindra group.